The GoodGym 2023 shindig

Find out what happened at our yearly meetup

June 29, 2023

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Shindig is an annual meetup of GoodGymers from all over the country celebrating the last year and planning for the next one. Here, GoodGymers John and Sevan recall the weekend full of discussion, socialising, running, walking and a few games of competitive rock, paper, scissors

I travelled from London to Haversage with fellow GoodGymer Fiona, and after lunch in Sheffield we took a bus along a beautiful route through the Peaks. At the YHA, we met Lis, a brand new GoodGymer who’d come to see what it was all about, and Charlotte from Newcastle. Both joined us on a short walk along footpaths, past cows and around the river. More GoodGymers arrived, including now-old friends from Luton, Birmingham, Bath and Barnsley who came to last year’s Shindig, and we tucked into a meal. On a pleasant summer’s evening, we spilled out into the garden and eventually I sorted out the Liverpudlians from the Kingstonites.


That evening, I hosted the quiz. After mixing up the teams, groans followed the opening questions and I was afraid I was mixing up the minds. But feverish conferring and pooling of knowledge produced some decent scores, even if only one team twigged that the river Aire runs through Leeds.


Some retired to bed while others relaxed and chatted in the lounge, but we were up early in the morning for Millhouses parkrun. Sarah from GoodGym Leicester claimed fastest lady, while others competed with their own previous efforts or just plodded round the very attractive park. A few others from GoodGym Sheffield came to meet us for the run.


After a rest and a shower, we joined discussion groups. The topics included:

  • Particiption and inclusion
  • The environment
  • Engaging with partners
  • Diversity
  • Community Led Areas
  • Older People Work


In the evening, some went on a pleasant walk up to the 14th-century church, while others got competitive in a series of mad and not-quite-mad physical games including tug-of-war, capture the flag and some extremely intense rock, paper, scissors.


That night’s quiz by Petra took place in the open, commencing with the biscuit round - one team member claimed to have tasted nine of the twelve within the past week - and finishing with a sport round. This one was really close, the surprised winning team coming just 0.5 points ahead of the runners-up.

Written by John Shirley

Twas The Night After Shindig

...and all round the house, nothing was stirring, not even a mouse. The Central team had done a good job of tucking everyone into their beds on Saturday night.

Then... one by one, eyes were opened. Was it Santa Claus? No, of course not. Shindig was happening in June!

In rooms around the hostel, GoodGymers were abruptly woken up at 4am. There was a strange light on in each room. Everyone was wondering who was the last to bed and who forgot to turn the lights off. In the distance, there was an incessant, annoying noise too.

As eyes were rubbed and sleepiness dissolved, it turned out that there was a storm outside and so the hostel and the whole town had been hit by a power cut. Chalomi jumped into action and rummaged around his emergency supplies. He found:

  1. A contact phone number for the hostel
  2. His emergency GoodGym t-shirt
  3. A multipurpose bath boat/ice cream tub/rain hat

thunder hat

He must've been packing a detective kit too 🕵️ as he soon deduced that no one had been irresponsible enough to leave the lights on. The emergency lighting had kicked in when the power cut struck. 💡

Venturing out into the rain, Chalomi found that down in the valley alarms were going off due to the power cut. Closer to home, there was a beeping control panel in the main building and it wouldn't stop beeping ,no matter what Chalomi tried. 🤬

Tired faces headed back to bed and tried their best to smother out the noise with their pillows...

In the morning, everything was back to normal and the ground was dry. Was it not for the photo of Chalomi above, the storm of the night before could've all been a dream.


After the thunderous downpour of Saturday night, 4 intrepid explorers woke up early on Sunday to take a run into the unknown. Some thought about removing themselves from the sign up sheet, but they stayed strong and were joined by a fifth. The team decided to stick together. Each packed a pair of wellies and there was one copy of Hill Running For Dummies by Simon Fitzmaurice between them.

The 5 went through Hathersage and turned left up a road, that became a track and then turned into a field. They ran past confused looking sheep, who wondered why there were humans in red uniforms disturbing their grazing.


The route up hill the was tough, but the views at the top when they reached Stanage Edge were amazing. No wellies were required, so the group donated theirs to 2 and a half nearby sheep, then they danced along the cliff edge, over and around boulders that had seen many runners before them.


Before the descent, Hill Running For Dummies was studied and they remembered how to stop themselves rolling down the hill. Ivo decided that the best way was to turn into an aeroplane and fly down the slopes, while everyone else decided to run carefully with a wide stance.

Learn to fly

On the descent, the GoodGym 5 ran into a walking group who were nearly at the top...

Sunday morning brought two walks - one went to the Hathersage stepping stones, while I joined a climb up to Stanage Edge, rewarded by stunning 360° views around the peaks and down into the valley. Near the top we met another group who’d headed for the same peak via a 10km run.


After a quick cafe stop, we heard everyone from Bath to Colchester, from Bournemouth to Newcastle, consider what they would take home from the weekend.


It only remained to retire to the Scotsman’s Pack pub for lunch, reflecting on a Shindig well done. But there’s no rest for the wicked, or the Good; after heading home, many of us went straight out to a task the following night.

Written by Sevan

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